In an interview last week, Yuba College Chancellor Nicki Harrington stated, concerning the proposed increase in the Chancellor’s position salary:
“The District’s position, right now, is that there’s no further comment on the Chancellor’s salary because the Board has decided to just continue with the current salary and tabled this right now. There’s so much else going on and I appealed to the Board Chair to ‘let’s just table this.’ It’s too volatile and it’s not good timing.”
Is that the end of the salary increase that students, faculty, and the community have asked for? Or, is that simply a matter of it being “tabled,” as per Dr. Harrington’s words, until a “less volatile” time arises that has and “better timing” period arises?
Dr. Harrington and Board Chair Jim Buchan have continually talked about bringing the Chancellor position’s salary to a “median level.” To determine the median level, according to Dr. Harrington, the Board has established a group of similar Community Colleges which they refer to as the “Valley Nine.”
When looking at the list of multi-college Districts (to compare apples to apples), we find that the chancellor position salaries range from Dr. Harrington’s low of $217,439 to a high of $250,812 for the Los Rios District in Sacramento. Based on the list received from the State Chancellor’s Office, the median salary level, for the Valley Nine appears to be $235,249, which is being paid to the State Center Chancellor in Fresno. That is somewhat lower than the nearly $250,000 a year salary the YCCD Board attempted to pass off without open review. But, would an 8.19% raise have been just as unthinkable in today’s economically trying times as the nearly 14% that was passed, which, was “unconscionable” in the words of Professor Richard of Woodland? The average salary level would be about the same as the median – $235,480 – still well below what was proposed by the Board.
In fairness to Dr. Harrington, there is no evidence that she asked for, or suggested, a raise to the Chancellor position. Dr. Harrington spent considerable time explaining the philosophy of the Board for compensating the YCCD employees at all levels. The philosophy fits with a good business model of retaining quality faculty, staff, and administrators. However, perhaps there is some additional input factors which need to be used for the administration level positions, including the Chancellor position, or especially at the Chancellor position.
The size of the various California Community College Districts in California varies widely. The method of comparison is called FTES (Full Time Equivalent Students). Through a formula that the State Chancellor’s Office has devised, our actual enrollment for each semester (just under 4,000 for Fall, 2009) plus the summer enrollment, our annual FTES comes out to be 9,008.33 – for the 2008-09 year. Our actual enrollment for Fall of 2009 was 5 students higher than for Fall of 2008.
The smallest District in the state is West Hills (Coalinga) with an FTES of 6,110.11 students. Their Chancellor’s salary can be broken down to $37.81 per FTES. That, by far, is the highest level in the state when calculated based on the number of students who attend that District.
Yuba College’s Chancellor’s salary breaks down to $24.14 per FTES – the SECOND HIGHEST level of any community college District in the state.
In comparison, the Los Angeles District Chancellor, with 109,131.75 FTES (the largest District in the state) and a salary of $300,000 (the highest in the state) gets only $2.75 per FTES.
Since the YCCD Board has chosen to use the “Valley Nine” for compensation comparisons, then let’s look. The Valley Nine combined salary totals works out to an average of $8.96 per FTES. If the YCCD Board philosophy is to use the Valley Nine as the basis for compensating their faculty, staff and administrators, then it seems that the Dollar-per-FTES ratio would be a starting point for the Chancellor position.
The median level for the Valley Nine – State Center in Fresno – is only $7.58 per FTES for their 31,303.06 students.
Most of the Chancellor’s salaries in the state run in the $10.00+/- per FTES range. That is far less than the YCCD Chancellor. However, Dr. Harrington has a different perspective of this comparison and the chancellor’s salary level.
In the interview last week, she stated: “The job of chancellor is not related to how many students we have. It does not matter to me or to my job whether there are 10,000 students or 50,000 students in our college. My job is really dependent on a lot of other things.”
She went on to discuss the territory covered, the local politicians she has to deal with, the local jurisdictional bodies, etc.
The Yuba College District does cover a wide geographical area and encompass a large number of varied agencies with their own individual interests. However, the responsibility of a chancellor with 9,000 FTES cannot be the same as a chancellor with 109,000 FTES.